Publications of Arnaud Monty
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See detailThe success of rock translocation for populations of the chasmophytic Aeollanthus saxatilis (Lamiaceae)
Boisson, Sylvain ULiege; Labonté, Audrey ULiege; Mahy, Grégory ULiege et al

in Journal for Nature Conservation (2020), 53

To ensure the rescue, temporary conservation and further restoration of plant populations and communities threatened by exploitation, translocation appears to be an appropriate method in the context of ... [more ▼]

To ensure the rescue, temporary conservation and further restoration of plant populations and communities threatened by exploitation, translocation appears to be an appropriate method in the context of mining. Little is known, however, on its effect on mutualistic interactions, such as pollination, and on the resulting plant population dynamics. Whole-rock translocations were performed as a conservation strategy for the endemic metallophyte flora of Katanga, Democratic Republic of the Congo. The aim of this study was to quantify the flower visitation, sexual reproduction and ramet demographic structure in such a translocated population, and to compare the data with those from natural populations of Aeollanthus saxatilis, one of the threatened species of the chasmophytic community. The study also documented the plant’s flower visitor guild. The ramet density, demographic structure, pollination success and seed abortion rate were assessed in 10 quadrats per population, in the translocated population and in two subsisting natural populations. The flower visitation rate was quantified during three observation periods (20 min each) in six quadrats per population. Small differences were observed in the visitor guild between the translocated and natural populations, but the flower visitation rate was equivalent. No clear difference in the reproductive performance or ramet demographic structure of the populations was found. The flower visitor guild was mainly composed of generalist pollinators, which probably helped in establishing a functional visitor guild at the receptor site. Rock translocation therefore appears to be an encouraging approach, allowing the conservation of functional mutualistic interactions and the maintenance of a population structure comparable to that of natural chasmophytic plant populations. [less ▲]

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See detailEcological niche distribution along soil toxicity gradients: Bridging theoretical expectations and metallophyte conservation
Boisson, Sylvain ULiege; Monty, Arnaud ULiege; Seleck, Maxime ULiege et al

in Ecological Modelling (2020), 415

Ecological niche modelling helps us to understand the spatial assembly of species in heterogeneous environments. Three patterns have been widely reported in the research literature regarding the ... [more ▼]

Ecological niche modelling helps us to understand the spatial assembly of species in heterogeneous environments. Three patterns have been widely reported in the research literature regarding the relationship between realised niches and macronutrient concentration gradients: (1) species’ optima are unevenly distributed, with a higher frequency in mesic conditions; (2) species’ response curves are narrower when optima density is higher; and (3) species with optima at the extremes of the gradients have skewed response curves with a longer tail toward mesic conditions. This study aims to test the existence of these patterns on a vegetation model occurring in metalliferous soils comprising copper and cobalt along a toxicity gradient in south-eastern D.R. Congo. Realised niches of 80 taxa were modelled using generalised additive models. The niche optima and the niche widths were determined for each taxon. Results highlighted three groups which differ according to the niche optima location along the soil metal concentration gradients. The patterns found along macronutrient concentration gradients were, to some extent, transposable along micronutrient concentration gradients. Our findings on the diversity and assembly of realised niches has consequences for plant conservation strategies. [less ▲]

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See detailTRY plant trait database – enhanced coverage and open access
Kattge, Jens; Bönisch, Gerhard; Díaz, Sandra et al

in Global Change Biology (2020), 26(1), 119-188

Abstract Plant traits—the morphological, anatomical, physiological, biochemical and phenological characteristics of plants—determine how plants respond to environmental factors, affect other trophic ... [more ▼]

Abstract Plant traits—the morphological, anatomical, physiological, biochemical and phenological characteristics of plants—determine how plants respond to environmental factors, affect other trophic levels, and influence ecosystem properties and their benefits and detriments to people. Plant trait data thus represent the basis for a vast area of research spanning from evolutionary biology, community and functional ecology, to biodiversity conservation, ecosystem and landscape management, restoration, biogeography and earth system modelling. Since its foundation in 2007, the TRY database of plant traits has grown continuously. It now provides unprecedented data coverage under an open access data policy and is the main plant trait database used by the research community worldwide. Increasingly, the TRY database also supports new frontiers of trait-based plant research, including the identification of data gaps and the subsequent mobilization or measurement of new data. To support this development, in this article we evaluate the extent of the trait data compiled in TRY and analyse emerging patterns of data coverage and representativeness. Best species coverage is achieved for categorical traits—almost complete coverage for ‘plant growth form’. However, most traits relevant for ecology and vegetation modelling are characterized by continuous intraspecific variation and trait–environmental relationships. These traits have to be measured on individual plants in their respective environment. Despite unprecedented data coverage, we observe a humbling lack of completeness and representativeness of these continuous traits in many aspects. We, therefore, conclude that reducing data gaps and biases in the TRY database remains a key challenge and requires a coordinated approach to data mobilization and trait measurements. This can only be achieved in collaboration with other initiatives. [less ▲]

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See detailCarte blanche : "Quels arbres pour la forêt de demain?"
Fanal, Aurore ULiege; Monty, Arnaud ULiege; Claessens, Hugues ULiege et al

Article for general public (2019)

17 scientifiques et académiques de la Fédération Wallonie – Bruxelles cosignent cette carte blanche pour alerter sur les risques de destruction de l’écosystème des forêts wallonnes par l’introduction ... [more ▼]

17 scientifiques et académiques de la Fédération Wallonie – Bruxelles cosignent cette carte blanche pour alerter sur les risques de destruction de l’écosystème des forêts wallonnes par l’introduction massive d’espèces végétales exotiques. [less ▲]

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See detailA few north Appalachian populations are the source of European black locust
Bouteiller, Xavier; Verdu, Cindy ULiege; Aikio, E et al

in Ecology and Evolution (2019), 9(5), 2398-2414

The role of evolution in biological invasion studies is often overlooked. In order to evaluate the evolutionary mechanisms behind invasiveness, it is crucial to identify the source populations of the ... [more ▼]

The role of evolution in biological invasion studies is often overlooked. In order to evaluate the evolutionary mechanisms behind invasiveness, it is crucial to identify the source populations of the introduction. Studies in population genetics were carried out on Robinia pseudoacacia L., a North American tree which is now one of the worst invasive tree species in Europe. We realized large-scale sampling in both the invasive and native ranges: 63 populations were sampled and 818 individuals were genotyped using 113 SNPs. We identified clonal genotypes in each population and analyzed between and within range population structure, and then, we compared genetic diversity between ranges, enlarging the number of SNPs to mitigate the ascertainment bias. First, we demonstrated that European black locust was introduced from just a limited number of populations located in the Appalachian Mountains, which is in agreement with the historical documents briefly reviewed in this study. Within America, population structure reflected the effects of long-term processes, whereas in Europe it was largely impacted by human activities. Second, we showed that there is a genetic bottleneck between the ranges with a decrease in allelic richness and total number of alleles in Europe. Lastly, we found more clonality within European populations. Black locust became invasive in Europe despite being introduced from a reduced part of its native distribution. Our results suggest that human activity, such as breeding programs in Europe and the seed trade throughout the introduced range, had a major role in promoting invasion; therefore, the introduction of the missing American genetic cluster to Europe should be avoided. © 2019 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. [less ▲]

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See detailAlien invasive plants in Belgian Limestone quarries
Monty, Arnaud ULiege; Jorion, Alexis ULiege; Pitz, Carline ULiege et al

in Biotechnologie, Agronomie, Société et Environnement (2019)

Description of the subject. Vegetation of high conservation value can establish in quarries, during or after exploitation. Alien plants could hamper this process and cause additional rehabilitation costs ... [more ▼]

Description of the subject. Vegetation of high conservation value can establish in quarries, during or after exploitation. Alien plants could hamper this process and cause additional rehabilitation costs. However, the situation of plant invasion in quarries is largely unknown. Objectives. We aimed to assess alien plant invasion in active and abandoned quarries, and to identify the most invaded quarry sectors. Method. We surveyed 6,692 plots in 31 quarries in Belgium and recorded occurrence, density and cover of the 65 listed alien invasive plants in Belgium. Results. Fourteen species were recorded and 25 quarries contained at least one species. The two most occurring species, Buddleja davidii Franch. and Senecio inaequidens DC., were more widespread in quarries in activity. All sectors of the quarries were affected by alien plant invasion. Conclusions. Alien plant invasion in limestone quarries is highly variable, but significant. Considering the ecological potential of quarry sites, this issue should be better tackled. [less ▲]

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See detailComparison of mining spoils to determine the best substrate for rehabilitating limestone quarries by favoring native grassland species over invasive plants
Pitz, Carline ULiege; Mahy, Grégory ULiege; Harzé, Mélanie et al

in Ecological Engineering (2019), 127

Habitats being restored in Belgian quarries are easily invaded by non-native plant species, which can hamper the germination and development of vegetation deemed to be of high conservation value ... [more ▼]

Habitats being restored in Belgian quarries are easily invaded by non-native plant species, which can hamper the germination and development of vegetation deemed to be of high conservation value. Substrates of terraces created when mining limestone quarries could be inhospitable to native plants. However, they can provide opportunities for establishing specific vegetation, such as dry calcareous grasslands. Applying suitable mining spoils could be a cost-effective way to provide growing substrate when restoring limestone terraces. We assessed the efficacy of using mining spoils, collected on-site, as a potential growing substrate (bedding material). We tested gravely limestone (product of on-site mining activities), limestone dust (by-product), and no addition (bare limestone bedrock) to determine which was best for favoring the growth of native, dry calcareous grassland species and discourage the growth of two non-native invasive species that commonly invade altered mining sites: Buddleja davidii Franch and Senecio inaequidens DC. In a field experiment (in two quarries), we studied short-term (2 y) growth response of native and invasive species after sowing three seed mixtures of native grassland species, varying in functional diversity (and one no-sowing control treatment), all treatments subjected to competitive pressure exerted by invasive species. Percent cover of native and invasive species, species abundance and reproductive characteristics of the invasive species were monitored during 2-y. Native grasslands coverage was low on all substrate types, demonstrating how slowly calcareous grasslands species establish in such harsh substrate conditions. However, type of substrate did show a significant relationship with plant abundance, with limestone dust being the most beneficial for native species establishment (coverage). Although limestone dust appeared to be the best option for restoring grassland species to limestone quarries (based on its low cost, wide availability, and potential to support native species), it was also likely to support the two invasive species. Functional diversity of the seed mixture had no consistent effect. Our study shows the importance of identifying the most appropriate substrate to both establish calcareous grasslands and resist invasive species. This approach provides insights into developing strategies to conserve biodiversity in industrial and agricultural landscapes with limestone quarries. [less ▲]

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See detailIdentification of flower functional traits affecting abundance of generalist predators in perennial multiple species wildflower strips
Hatt, Séverin ULiege; Uytenbroeck, Roel; Lopes, thomas et al

in Arthropod-Plant Interactions (2019), 13

In agricultural fields, wildflower strips can be sown to enhance conservation biological control of insect pests. However, issues remain regarding the composition of flower mixtures to effectively attract ... [more ▼]

In agricultural fields, wildflower strips can be sown to enhance conservation biological control of insect pests. However, issues remain regarding the composition of flower mixtures to effectively attract and support large communities of natural enemies. Trait-based approaches are promising for this purpose. In the present study, conducted in an agricultural field of Belgium in 2014 and 2015, 15 flower mixtures were considered to explore the relation between the abundance of trapped generalist predators (i.e. lacewings [Neuroptera: Chrysopidae], ladybeetles [Coleoptera: Coccinellidae] and hoverflies [Diptera: Syrphidae]) and the community-weighted means of seven flower traits. Through a redundancy analysis, it was found that the presence/absence of flower ultra-violet pattern and the morphology of the corolla (that determines the accessibility of floral resources) were the traits that significantly affected the abundance of the generalist predators in the flower mixtures. The ladybeetles Harmonia axyridis and Propylea quatuordecimpunctata as well as the lacewings Chrysoperla carnea were more abundant in mixtures with a high cover of flowers showing an ultra-violet pattern, while the opposite was observed for the ladybeetle Coccinella septempunctata. As for hoverflies, Episyrphus balteatus and Eupeodes corollae were more abundant in mixtures with a high cover of flowers with open nectar. These results bring new knowledge regarding how a range of natural enemy species reacts to flower cues in diversified plant communities and should help in elaborating flower mixtures that enhance conservation biological control. [less ▲]

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See detailIdentification of flower functional traits affecting abundance of generalist predators in perennial multiple species wildflower strips
Hatt, Séverin ULiege; Uyttenbroeck, Roel; Lopes, Thomas et al

in Arthropod-Plant Interactions (2019)

In agricultural fields, wildflower strips can be sown to enhance conservation biological control of insect pests. However, issues remain regarding the composition of flower mixtures to effectively attract ... [more ▼]

In agricultural fields, wildflower strips can be sown to enhance conservation biological control of insect pests. However, issues remain regarding the composition of flower mixtures to effectively attract and support large communities of natural enemies. Trait-based approaches are promising for this purpose. In the present study, conducted in an agricultural field of Belgium in 2014 and 2015, 15 flower mixtures were considered to explore the relation between the abundance of trapped generalist predators (i.e. lacewings [Neuroptera: Chrysopidae], ladybeetles [Coleoptera: Coccinellidae] and hoverflies [Diptera: Syrphidae]) and the community-weighted means of seven flower traits. Through a redundancy analysis, it was found that the presence/absence of flower ultra-violet pattern and the morphology of the corolla (that determines the accessibility of floral resources) were the traits that significantly affected the abundance of the generalist predators in the flower mixtures. The ladybeetles Harmonia axyridis and Propylea quatuordecimpunctata as well as the lacewings Chrysoperla carnea were more abundant in mixtures with a high cover of flowers showing an ultra-violet pattern, while the opposite was observed for the ladybeetle Coccinella septempunctata. As for hoverflies, Episyrphus balteatus and Eupeodes corollae were more abundant in mixtures with a high cover of flowers with open nectar. These results bring new knowledge regarding how a range of natural enemy species reacts to flower cues in diversified plant communities and should help in elaborating flower mixtures that enhance conservation biological control. [less ▲]

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See detailThe invasive potential of introduced exotic trees: what do arboreta tell us ?
Fanal, Aurore ULiege; Mahy, Grégory ULiege; Monty, Arnaud ULiege

Poster (2018, September 05)

An increasing number of woody species are being listed as invasive in Europe. Forestry is the second largest pathway of invasive tree introductions and it is likely that climate change will encourage ... [more ▼]

An increasing number of woody species are being listed as invasive in Europe. Forestry is the second largest pathway of invasive tree introductions and it is likely that climate change will encourage forest managers to plant exotic tree species to maintain wood production. In the early 1900’s, several arboreta were established in Southern Belgium to assess the wood production potential of prospective exotic trees. However, they also offer the unique opportunity to assess the potential invasiveness of exotic tree species. A systematic sampling method was used to conduct surveys in eight arboreta and a buffer zone surrounding them. Regeneration of all exotic trees was recorded as well as biotic (herbaceous competition, composition of the tree stand) and environmental variables (soil type, pH, thickness of litter, canopy closure and climate). A descriptive approach allowed as to identify species showing an abundant regeneration. Linear regressions were implemented to assess whether the patterns in the regeneration of these exotic trees could be explained by their functional traits, dispersal modes, and environmental tolerances. Results revealed that several coniferous species from the North-American West coast exhibit rapid regeneration and/or dispersal, including Tsuga heterophylla, Abies grandis, Chamaecyparis lawsoniana, Pseudotsuga menziesii and Thuya plicata. We therefore recommend to exercise caution when planting these species in future forestry trials given their potentially invasive characteristics. [less ▲]

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See detailManaging invasive plants in quarry sites - Patterns, issues and opportunities
Monty, Arnaud ULiege; Ortmans, William ULiege; Mahy, Grégory ULiege

Poster (2018, September)

Description of the subject. Vegetation of high conservation value can establish in quarries, during or after exploitation. Alien plants could hamper this process and represent additional rehabilitation ... [more ▼]

Description of the subject. Vegetation of high conservation value can establish in quarries, during or after exploitation. Alien plants could hamper this process and represent additional rehabilitation costs. The situation of plant invasion in quarries is unknown. Objectives. The aims were to assess alien plant invasion in active and abandoned quarries, and to identify the most invaded sectors. Method. We surveyed 6 692 plots in 31 quarries in Belgium and recorded occurrence, density and cover of the 65 listed alien plants in Belgium. Results. 14 species were recorded, and 25 quarries contained at least one species. The two most occurring species, Buddleja davidii Franch.and Senecio inaequidens DC., were more widespread in quarries in activity. All sectors of the quarries were concerned by invasion. Conclusion. Alien plant invasion in limestone quarries is highly variable, but significant. Considering the ecological potential of quarry sites, the issue should be better tackled. [less ▲]

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See detailDes toitures vertes analogues pour soutenir la biodiversité
Boisson, Sylvain ULiege; Monty, Arnaud ULiege; Mahy, Grégory ULiege

Article for general public (2018)

Imaginez-vous au beau milieu d’une prairie fleurie aux couleurs variées surplombant les toits d’une grande ville. Et si la ville pouvait réellement contribuer au maillage écologique ? Accueillir des ... [more ▼]

Imaginez-vous au beau milieu d’une prairie fleurie aux couleurs variées surplombant les toits d’une grande ville. Et si la ville pouvait réellement contribuer au maillage écologique ? Accueillir des espèces indigènes voire recréer des habitats d’intérêt conservatoire serait incontestablement une opportunité pour la biodiversité. Avec l’investissement dans le Centre de Recherche Terra, la faculté Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, Liège Université, s’est lancé le défi d’innover dans le domaine des toitures végétales grâce à l’équipe de l’Unité Biodiversité et Paysage. Près de 450 m² de parcelles sont destinés à mettre en avant les habitats naturels en se basant sur le concept d’« habitats analogues », concept émergeant en écologie urbaine. [less ▲]

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See detailNo evidence for genetic differentiation in juvenile traits between belgian and french populations of the invasive tree Robinia pseudoacacia
Bouteiller, Xavier; Barraquand, F; Garnier-Géré, P et al

in Plant Ecology and Evolution (2018), 151

Background – The role of evolution in biological invasion studies is often overlooked. In order to evaluate the evolutionary mechanisms behind invasiveness, both quantitative and population genetics ... [more ▼]

Background – The role of evolution in biological invasion studies is often overlooked. In order to evaluate the evolutionary mechanisms behind invasiveness, both quantitative and population genetics studies are underway on Robinia pseudoacacia L., one of the worst invasive tree species in Europe. Methods – A controlled experiment was set up using 2000 seeds from ten populations in Southern France and ten populations in Belgium. Seedlings were cultivated in two climatic chambers set at 18°C and 22°C. Early development life history traits (e.g. seedling phenology) and functional traits (e.g. growth rates) were monitored. Genotyping using SNP markers was used to evaluate the genetic differentiation among the populations and a QST – FST comparison was done in order to test for the role of selection. Results – Populations exhibited a strong plasticity to temperature for all measured traits, the warmer environment being generally more suitable, irrespective of their origin. No significant departure from neutral evolution was evidenced by the QST – FST comparisons, although we found a slightly significant differentiation at the molecular level. Conclusion – Plasticity for the functional and life history traits was evidenced but no genetic interaction suggesting no possible evolution of plasticity at those traits. Moreover, no support for genetic differentiation and local adaptation was found among studied populations within invasive range, raising two main questions: first, what is the role of selection on functional and life-history traits; and second, is the elapsed time since first introduction sufficient to allow evolution and local adaptation?. © 2018 Botanic Garden Meise and Royal Botanical Society of Belgium. [less ▲]

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See detailL’ambroisie à feuilles d’armoise : une plante discrète aux effets insoupçonnés
Monty, Arnaud ULiege

in Mille lieux (2018)

Les plantes invasives sont aujourd’hui bien connues pour leurs impacts négatifs sur les espèces indigènes et le fonctionnement des écosystèmes. Mais au-delà de ces enjeux environnementaux, certaines ... [more ▼]

Les plantes invasives sont aujourd’hui bien connues pour leurs impacts négatifs sur les espèces indigènes et le fonctionnement des écosystèmes. Mais au-delà de ces enjeux environnementaux, certaines espèces engendrent des difficultés nouvelles, parfois inattendues et couteuses pour la société, etc. C’est le cas de l’ambroisie à feuille d’armoise : ayant pourtant peu d’impact sur les écosystèmes naturels, cette plante n’a pas fini de faire parler d’elle. [less ▲]

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See detailPlant invasions, cause and effect of global change : focus on two emerging Ambrosia species
Monty, Arnaud ULiege; Tassus, Xavier

Conference (2018)

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See detailNaturally recruited herbaceous vegetation in abandoned Belgian limestone quarries: towards habitats of conservation interest analogues?
Pitz, Carline ULiege; Piqueray, Julien; Monty, Arnaud ULiege et al

in Folia Geobotanica (2018)

We examined if naturally recruited herbaceous vegetation in abandoned Belgian limestone quarries tend towards plant communities analogous to semi-natural habitats of conservation interest. We studied ... [more ▼]

We examined if naturally recruited herbaceous vegetation in abandoned Belgian limestone quarries tend towards plant communities analogous to semi-natural habitats of conservation interest. We studied taxon-based assemblages (using two-dimensional non-metric multidimensional scaling ordination) and functional patterns (relative to Grime’s competitor, stress tolerator and ruderal plant strategies (CSR) classification) of plant communities (n = 360 plots) among three different time periods after quarry abandonment (< 3 y, 3–20 y, > 20 y). We compared those successional assemblages with those of habitat of conservation interest plant communities (n = 53 plots): lowland hay meadows and rupicolous, xerophilous and mesophilous calcareous grasslands. Our results indicate that naturally recruited herbaceous vegetation compositionally resembled mesophilous grassland, even though initial substrate conditions were more similar to rupicolous or xerophilous grasslands. The specific successional pathway we found in CSR state-space differs from Grime's predictions because there was a functional shift in plant assemblages from dominance by ruderals to dominance by stress-tolerant species. The differences in successional trajectories we found on different types of rock substrate suggest that conservation management should adopt a site-specific approach, recognizing that the highest probabilities of success on hard limestone will be restoration to calcareous grassland analogues. [less ▲]

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